Fantasy Football Honors

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Tyler Davidson

By using the waiver wire and trading, you can improve your fantasy team into a championship winning team (Photo courtesy of Tyler Davidson).

This article is a follow-up to the article, Are You Ready for some Fantasy Football?, which was previously published in the Bengal Beat. This article will dive further into the topic of fantasy football to make you a winner.

Now that you understand the basics behind fantasy football and have been through the draft, there are still a few decisions you need to make. If you are going to bring home the trophy, then you are going to set your lineup to score the maximum amount of points each week. Your lineup will most likely consist of a quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, one tight end, one kicker, and one NFL defense. The players on your team who are not part of this lineup will be on your bench. The starting players will score points that will count towards your total score, but the players on the bench will not. But, how should you decide who to start?

There are several factors you should consider before setting your lineup. One of these factors should be the number of points the player is expected to earn. This number is projected by fantasy experts and statistical models which are based on the player’s past performance. There is one unfortunate downside to depending only on the projected number of points. In an article by Brett Williams on Bleacher Report, the conclusion was drawn that the projected number of points was inaccurate less than fifty percent of the time.

“[The score projections] takes consideration of matchups, team chemistry, weather, and numerous other factors that may or may not influence a player’s performance any given week. These sites, relied upon by many, had hit-percentages of 43 (Sportsline and Yahoo!) and 33 (FFToday.com),” said Williams in his article.

Another factor to consider is how the players have been performing in recent weeks. By looking at the number of points the player has been scoring, you can see how the player’s team in real life will be using the player. You should also consider who the player is playing. For example, if you have two defenses and one is facing the Kansas City Chiefs and the other is facing the Miami Dolphins, you would want to consider playing the one against the Dolphins because the Dolphins have a bad offense while the Chiefs teams has a good offense . This would be important because this will determine how the defense performs.

Finally, when choosing your line up, you should consider injuries. If you are uncertain that a player will play, it would be unwise to start them because if they don’t play they will not earn you any points. Match-ups, recent player performance, injuries, and projections should be considered altogether when you set your lineup. 

“[The waiver wire is a] system of adding free agents is put in place to prevent owners from adding players whenever they want, or as often as they want. After every game is played for an individual week, free agents can’t be added again until the waiver period runs its course,” said Alex Welch in his article on SBNation.

Another part of the game is managing your roster. If a player is not doing well, you can cut the player and add another off the waiver wire. At the end of each week, you can put in claims for different players who are not on any of the other teams in your league. The team with the worst record gets the first priority on who they want. This continues until the best team gets their opportunity. Then it repeats for the rest of the pending transactions. You should decide to cut a player if they are not scoring enough points or if they are injured for multiple weeks. When you want to add and drop a player, you should be looking for a new player who has performed well over multiple weeks. If a player has one good game, it could be just that – one good game, but if you know they have multiple good games, they are more likely to be able to score consistently.

“Load up on those high-upside players (mostly RBs and WRs) whenever possible, and as your bye weeks come and go, lose your backups and continue hoarding skill-position players with paths to touches and targets,” said PJ Walsh in his article on Action Network.

The other way you can improve your roster is through trades. Trading is a great way to improve your team, but it could cause you to lose the trade. When you are trading a player, you need to be sure to get something of equal or greater value in return. You should be trading from positions that you have many dependable players at that position and you should aim to strengthen a weaker position. One way to win a trade is by getting your opponent to counter. By getting them to counter, they believe they are giving you someone with less value. If you start with the player with less value, then they could counter with one with more value. You can also win a trade by getting rid of players before the player’s value falls. This will help you get maximum value for your players. By using the trade market to your advantage, you can improve your team to compete for the championship.

“An owner rarely wins a league with the team he/she drafts. Working the waiver wire is vital, but landing a few key trades is also a major part of building a solid team.” said Welch.

After making trades and using the waiver wire, you have a roster that should be able to compete for a championship. By using the professional opinions on who you should start and a little common sense, you can figure out who to start. Make sure to not be someone who has players without a game in their lineup! Finally, remember to have fun, because this is only a game.